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Life Here

November 24, 2020 By Carol Moore

Top Lap Swimmers Pool Their Talents

Most of us enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool, but some Paradise Valley Estates residents kick (and stroke) it up a notch.

Fred Barthmus retained his title as the men’s champion with 433 laps while Bonnie Sonnenburg topped the women with 587 laps in our third annual summer swim challenge.

Christina Gamble, wellness coordinator, said about 15 residents competed in the month-long contest and logged their laps each day.

“This may sound a little fishy, but I’ve always loved the water,” quipped Bonnie Sonnenberg. “I have had a water safety instructor credential and given lessons and life guarded at pools and summer camps. My Y2K goal was to compete in a mini-marathon, the swim portion of which was in a lake.”

Her most efficient exercise stroke is the crawl or freestyle, “But I love to just float on my back and can do that endlessly. I know a variety of strokes, but normally don’t use them.”

Sonnenberg mixes two or three swimming sessions with other aerobic activities during the week, adding that, “I am 75 and, if it’s early morning, I may be in the pool. It’s a wonderful way to exercise without too much stress on body parts.”

Barthmus, 83, prefers the breaststroke and backstroke, which he credits for curing back aches in later years.

He did a lot of swimming in Austrian lakes at summer camps as a boy and later at Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches.

“The availability of a nice warm pool with flexible hours was one of the deciding factors for us to move from Florida to Paradise Valley Estates,” he said. “My wife swam competitively in her youth, and right now it is the only exercise she can do. It is very important to her and part of my motivation.”

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